Tonight, as we mark the anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Madison, the City is honoring the Health Care Heroes who have carried us through the pandemic, including Public Health Madison and Dane County, and all the health care providers and staff at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, UW Health, and SSM Health-St. Mary’s, who are working hard every day to keep our communities and our state healthy.


RESOLUTION - Honoring our public health and health care heroes.

WHEREAS, COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is an illness caused by a virus that can transmit from person to person and has spread across the world, creating a global pandemic that is having catastrophic impacts on human life, our community, and our economy; and,

WHEREAS, the United States recorded its first resident diagnosed with COVID-19 on January 21, 2020, and subsequently lost more people than were lost during World War II; and,

WHEREAS, Madison confirmed its first case of the virus on February 5, 2020; and,

WHEREAS, in the absence of sustained federal leadership, local public health officials, including Public Health Madison and Dane County, took bold actions to protect residents from the virus, including moving swiftly to create the state’s first public health order, creating one of the state’s first mask orders, creating a data dashboard to make information easily accessible and transparent to the public, and restructuring agency operations to focus on COVID-19 and prepare the City and County for the battle ahead while maintaining other public health services; and,

WHEREAS, Public Health Madison and Dane County has doubled its workforce to do outreach and education, contact tracing and case follow-up, make testing accessible to all community members, and develop plans to coordinate and administer vaccine with health care partners to all Dane County residents; and,

WHEREAS, area health care workers assumed new roles, developed and implemented new protocols and processes, worked diligently to conserve precious resources including personal protective equipment, while showing our community compassion through their resilience and ingenuity in the face of uncertainty and high stress; and,

WHEREAS, in addition to caring for COVID-19 patients, UnityPoint Health-Meriter modified programs and support to continue safe mental health and substance use programs, expanded childcare services to support other healthcare providers and first responders, and partnered to provide COVID-19 testing to homeless individuals in our community; and,

WHEREAS, UW Health providers and staff have shown grit, empathy and true genius in providing care for thousands of COVID-19 patients and support for their loved ones during these most difficult times for our community; faculty and researchers led the way in identifying new treatments, testing and vaccines that will shorten the length and impact of the pandemic; while staff and providers have very intentionally devoted time, resources and support to communities of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19; and,

WHEREAS, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic SSM Health providers and staff have shown incredible perseverance, grace and compassion while implementing new, innovative ways to connect with, care for, and support patients during their hospital stays; implemented new therapies for COVID-19; and mobilized local vaccination efforts for unaffiliated health care workers as well as frontline essential public safety workers; and,

WHEREAS, Madison’s EMTs and paramedics provided a critical service by transporting countless sick individuals to our local hospitals, and many other city departments including Metro, and our Community Development Division worked to support our health care workers by providing needed transportation and child care; and,

WHEREAS, health care and public health workers and their supporters should be recognized as “Health Care Heroes” for working in positions where they were exposed to the virus, for working countless hours of overtime and making personal as well as professional sacrifices to battle the disease; and,

WHEREAS, the pandemic has caused untold stress on our health care facilities, health care workers, public health staff, first responders, and essential workers who have performed courageously and tirelessly during the pandemic; and,

WHEREAS, in performing their duties, these brave and selfless individuals face a heightened risk of exposure to the virus and many health care professionals, EMTs and other frontline workers survived the virus,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that all who remain safe and healthy owe a debt of gratitude to those whose sacrifices make our health and safety possible; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Madison offers our deepest appreciation and heartfelt support for the health care providers and staff, public health staff, and first responders, who are working to keep our communities and our state healthy.


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